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How Brad Ford Cultivated a Community of Modern Makers

Growing up in small town Arkansas, Brad Ford did not think of interior design as a career path until after college. He moved to New York on the recommendation of the one professional designer in town “with an office.” After design school, under the tutelage of Jed Johnson and Thad Hayes, he was able to hone his now-characteristic aesthetic of editing rather than layering. Editing is more than a style for Ford, but a philosophy that defines all of his endeavors: FAIR, Field and Supply, and...


BDDW’s Tyler Hays is the Uncle of the Maker Movement

Whether it’s digging clay for his tile collection, harvesting barley for his brewery, painting and weaving textiles for his clothing line, milling high-end furniture for his showroom, or assembling musicians for a metal band (radio station coming soon), Tyler Hays is as hands-on with each of his hobbies-turned-businesses as you’d expect from a master craftsman. As a small-town high-school dropout with above-average sewing skills, he never imagined himself a businessman, much less a manager...


Warren Shoulberg Reveals the Furniture Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

There are few—if any—retailers in the home category that haven’t been under the journalistic microscope of Warren Shoulberg. In this episode, the trade media veteran shares his findings, offering Restoration Hardware, Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Home Depot and more as case studies for what is and isn’t working in the modern retail environment. Tune in as he reveals which retailer is “one of the greatest in the world right now,” why he’ll never bet against RH CEO Gary Friedman, and the “dirty...


Industry West’s Secret to Scaling—Without the Help of VCs

When it comes to furniture companies, commercial design favorite Industry West is an anomaly. Since its launch in 2009, the Jacksonville, Florida-based, direct-to-consumer brand has been profitable. Husband and wife co-founders Jordan and Anne England’s bootstrapped efforts have led to a growth of nearly 70 percent each year—a rate that, Jordan says, shows no signs of slowing down. Now, the couple reveals the challenges of being an e-commerce early adopter, why they’re opening a SoHo...


How Nicole Gibbons went from blogger to VC darling

Detroit-born interior designer Nicole Gibbons has been chasing her business goals—be it a PR exec, design studio, or television series—long before the paint dried on her new startup. After building the business model for Clare, an e-commerce paint company, she had to convince venture capitalists of the potential that exists in today’s “sleepy” home industry. Gibbons shares how she conceived of the idea for Clare, and what the design trade could learn from the startup community. This episode...


Inside Parachute Home’s community-focused expansion plans

The term ‘retail store’ isn’t in Ariel Kaye’s vocabulary. The founder and CEO of Parachute Home prefers to use “community centers” when referencing the digital-first bedding and bath brand’s physical locations. In true clicks-to-bricks fashion, Parachute is focused on cultivating its consumer community and providing value outside of just its European-made product. In this interview, Kaye shares how she built Parachute and its cult-like following, while also acknowledging the challenges of...


From bankruptcy to IPO, here’s how Shawn Nelson built America’s fastest-growing furniture retailer

It’s a coming-of-age business tale that reads more tech startup than furniture manufacturer. More than two decades ago, Lovesac began as a zealous idea in Shawn Nelson’s parents’ basement. As of June, the company filed an IPO with a company market capitalization of more than $250 million. In this interview, Nelson revisits the merchandising mistakes, bankruptcy filing, and painful lessons learned along the way. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.


How Ralph Pucci became the master of visual merchandising

Whether it’s preserving his iconic mannequin label or curating his next gallery exhibition, Ralph Pucci leads by one rule: “If everyone’s going left, I’m going right.” It worked in 1985, when Pucci successfully debuted the collection of designer Andree Putman with no industry experience, and it continues to work today, as the company now boasts galleries in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. In this week’s episode, Pucci takes us through the remarkable timeline of Ralph Pucci International...


What startup culture and values can do for a 128-year-old fabric house

Driven by KPIs and constant product launches, Schumacher operates more like a 128-year-old startup than a legacy brand. That’s no coincidence, explains Schumacher CEO Timur Yumusaklar and Creative Director Dara Caponigro in this week’s episode. The venerated fabric brand, which houses greats from Frank Lloyd Wright and Josef Frank to Miles Redd in its archive, remains confident in it’s identity yet understands that moving with the times is essential. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.


China is the next frontier for interior design

Campion Platt believes China is the land of opportunity for interior designers and furniture manufacturers—but only for the next 10 years. In an exclusive story in the summer issue of Business of Home, the designer unveiled his collaboration with a major Chinese developer on a 10.7-million-square-foot complex comprised of a luxury design center, accredited design school, performing arts center, and more. Tune in as Platt reveals how he got involved—and why it may be in other best interest...


How customer experience and company culture are coupled at Interior Define

Rob Royer launched Interior Define online in 2014, offering direct-to-consumer, customizable sofas at a middle-market price point. Veteran insight and early investment capital from Bonobos founder (and Royer’s brother-in-law) Andy Dunn helped the Chicago-based company gain early momentum among consumers and designers. Today, Interior Define, which has since expanded its custom offerings to multiple product furnishing categories, is on track to triple its sales for the third year in a row....


From the Archives: Bunny Williams and Oscar de la Renta

The New York City fashion scene in the 1960s was similar to the interior design scene today. When Oscar de la Renta moved across the pond from Paris, most labels carried the names of manufacturers. “The designers were doing all the work in the back but getting no credit ... it was a very important transition time when the designers, the creators came into their own,” he said in an interview with Bunny Williams at the Design Leadership Network Summit in 2014. In this archival episode, the...


How Hem is Poised to be the High-End IKEA

IKEA is the only furniture brand that is truly global, notes Petrus Palmér, founder of modern furniture brand Hem. The designer-turned-entrepreneur sees white space for high-end brands to reach global scale, and is growing Hem with that in mind. Hem was among the first to sell direct to consumer, disrupting the traditional structure for furniture distribution and catching the attention of, which acquired it in 2014. Palmér bought it back in 2016, and took investment from Vitra in...


The Story of Sweeten

Architect-turned entrepreneur Jean Brownhill has raised more than $8 million in venture capital to grow Sweeten, a general contractor match-making service that facilitated nearly a billion dollars in services this year. As one of 26 African-American female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to raise more than $1 million in VC funding, she emphasizes that raising venture capital doesn’t equal success. The goal is to build a big company that scales, and helps millions of people. This episode is...


Becoming Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt made headlines four years ago when she sold her eponymous company to Knoll for $94 million. But it’s never been about the money for the Texas-born designer, who started her business as a recently-divorced mother of three boys in 1983—without "a big hairy plan." She built what was then a new concept: a multi-line showroom, bringing on makers like Carl Springer, Jim Thompson and Rose Tarlow before designing and manufacturing her own line. In this episode, she shares the ups and...


How Maxwell Ryan Won With Millennials

It's fitting that Maxwell Ryan was a teacher for seven years prior to founding Apartment Therapy. He’s now teaching readers—20 million of them—how to live beautifully and happily. By featuring homes that are “juicy, lived-in, and accessible,” he appeals to the “broad middle”—a lot of people with a little to spend—and is the go-to for Millennials who love decorating. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.


A New Era for Trade Showrooms

Crans Baldwin reflects on 30 years running to-the-trade companies—from Donghia and Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman to Dedar. Now, after opening a namesake firm that represents trade brands to designers, he sees firsthand what showrooms need to do to in order to stay top of mind, which is to meet your customers where they are (hint: in their offices!). As design center foot traffic declines, brands must increase their outside sales programs, marketing efforts, and online commerce...


Why direct-to-consumer is the future of furniture

With stints at McKinsey, Google and Birchbox, Maiden Home founder Nidhi Kapur has applied her digital brand-building skills to sofas. On this week’s episode, she shares the good, the bad and the ugly of creating a direct-to-consumer custom furniture company—from sourcing and product development to marketing tactics. This episode is sponsored by Fuigo.


Behold, To the Trade 2.0

Maury Riad’s connection to the trade goes back decades—from running Fortuny, the storied Italian fabric brand his family owns, to Fuigo, the design management software and shared workspace he co-founded in 2016. His vision for the industry, which he likes to call “To the Trade Trade 2.0,” includes making the interior design process more transparent in its pricing and business models. This week, he chats about how the trade has become devalued in the digital world and how this can be...


How Consort plans to scale the boutique design experience

Designer Mat Sanders jokes that his design business launched with a ceramic middle finger. Scratch beneath the surface of his playful sensibility—which is reflected in his personality, interior designs and product lines—and you’ll find an ambitious business plan backed by a clear vision (and some anonymous funding). The Consort co-founder chats about how mid-budget customers are underserved, why boutique design services are hard to scale, and how he’s planning to conquer the design world...